This time around, with Wyatt leading us back from Texas to Vegas for the BlogPaws conference, we decided to take Highway 60 and hit up Pie Town again. I had actually forgotten about the VLA until we were almost there.
I immediately remembered how cool it is! We didn’t get a guided tour like we did before, but stopping at the vista point was enogh to get a good dose of geek tourism. The pullout is large enough for a couple RVs, and there is ample warning. After all you can’t miss the dishes.
The place always reminds me of an old commercial featuring Ted Turner walking along the fenceline at his ranch. He mentions how his neighbor has been complaining, about his new set of dishes, as the camera pans to reveal a scene similar to this.
Ted likely had dish envy though. His were not nearly as large, nor would they likely reach as far! But there I go digressing again.
The Very Large Array is operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The 27 antennae—each one measuring 82′ in diameter—comprise an interferometer providing the resolution of a dish 22 miles across! Mounted on rails, the dishes can be positioned across the across the mesa, close together or miles apart.
Without getting into interference and Fourier transformation of mathematical data to make interstellar maps, suffice it to say, this place is just pretty damn cool.
Geek or not, if you’re a full-time RVer who prefers to travel the backroads of America, this is one of the more amazing roadside attractions you’re going to see. What makes it even more cool, is that it’s not just some attraction, it’s actually in use every day, looking at the far reaches of our galaxy, and beyond.
Besides, it’s just down the road from some of the best pie out there on the open road!